Batley pub to host 10-comic comedy festival for good causes

Graeme Rayner has organised the evening in support of good causes.
Graeme Rayner has organised the evening in support of good causes.

Comedy lovers are set to have their ribs tickled for good causes this week as a popular pub welcomes punters to a charity comedy evening.

Proceeds from the event, which will take place from 8pm on Thursday at Cellar Bar, will be donated to a mental health charity.

It’s been organised by aspiring local comic Graeme Rayner, who feels there is a lack of this kind of entertainment in the Batley area. Graeme made his debut as a stand-up at The Wardrobe in Leeds last November, in order to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.

Graeme said: “I’ve raised funds for Cancer Research for over 10 years, since I lost my mum to breast cancer, and having since seen my wife, her mum and her sister all battle with cancer too.

“I usually do this by running but after the London Marathon last April I wanted to try something new. I’ve always wanted to try comedy but never really known how to start, so I did a course for charity that ended with a performance in front of over 300 people.

“It went much better than I ever could have expected and I’ve had loads of feedback from professional comics that I should try and make a career from it.”

Graeme sent a video of his performance to David Baddiel, one of the country’s leading comics, who watched it and sent a message via saying “You’ve got a future, Graeme. Made me laugh out loud”.

Whilst looking for opportunities to hone his talents, Graeme found that there as a lack close to home. “I have had gags in Leeds, Saltaire, Sheffield, Halifax and Harrogate and the offer or more in York and Manchester. I love the Cellar Bar and know they have regular music gigs, so got in touch and they were keen to try a comedy night”.

The night will feature 11 comedians, all based in West Yorkshire.

The owner of the Cellar Bar, Andy Robinson says “We’re always delighted to support and host new acts in the area and are really looking forward to offering a different form of entertainment than we’re used to”.

Talks are already in place to make the night a regular event. There is no price for admission, instead the audience are being asked to “pay as you feel” with all funds raised being split between two good causes – The Cellar Bar’s dedicated charity, Macmillan Cancer Support, and Graeme Rayner’s chosen cause, Vent Help UK.

Vent is an on-line community where everyone, but especially men and boys can open up about their mental health issues, break down stigmas and start conversations.

Freddie Cocker, founder of Vent, says “Comedy has always been good for the soul. It brings us up when we’re down, lets us express ourselves and gives us a chance to let our hair down.

"When it comes to our mental health, this is especially important. If we can’t laugh every once in a while, we can’t enjoy life to the fullest and Graeme’s comedy night will help do just that. 11 comedians doing what they love to benefit a community. At Vent, I want to spread the message that not only is it okay to Vent, it’s okay to laugh too!”

Finally, Graeme says he’s sure the night will be well received: “We have 11 great acts, all with a different view on the world. The people of Batley love to laugh, and there will be something for everyone at Live From The Cellar Bar, where you can enjoy great ale and great comedy in a great setting.”